Anyone can face assault at anytime. However, if you’re a woman, a predator will see you as an easier target as compared to a man. They might want to rob you, sexually abuse you or even kill you. Whether you’re home alone, at work or on travel, it’s always necessary to ensure your safety.
So, how can women deal with unexpected dangerous situations? Read on…
1. Gain knowledge: This is the most general tip on this list but an important one. To stay safe, you need to be aware that there exist a lot of dangers around you which might strike you when you least expect it.
You must always keep tabs on the crimes against women, not only in your country, but also around the world. Have knowledge of what is going on around you, socially and politically. It’s important to know the ways in which attackers were successful in their motives. So go through the stories of victims, their circumstances and the different ways in which they were abused. Read, watch and learn!
Useful when: Every time. Knowledge and awareness never failed anyone.
Useless when: Never.
2. Mind your surroundings: Keep an eye on everything around you at all times. You never know when a stalker has set eyes on you or when your colleague has developed an obsession for you. Beware of people who stare or follow you. Never open the door unless you are sure who is outside and if that person can be trusted to enter the house/room. Keep only one ear phone on, instead of both when traveling. Beware of drinks offered by strangers.
Keep a check on the behavior of people around you, even the people who aren’t strangers. A lot of times identifying the kind of person your acquaintance is, can play a vital role in saving yourself from that person if a time comes for that. For example, if you notice a male friend who abuses his wife or girlfriend, it’s time for you to steer clear of him, if not outright report him to authorities.
Useful when: Attacker is a stranger or a casual acquaintance.
Useless when: Attacker is someone you trust a lot. That brings me to my next tip.
3. Do not trust anyone easily (including women): Building trust takes time and it always should. Always follow your gut feeling when you start socializing with a new person. Your intuitions will give you signals and you must listen to them.
Have you had a lot of people in your life that broke your trust? If your answer is a straight “yes”, then you know you trust people too easily, don’t you? I am not saying doubt each and every person in your life but when you meet new people, make sure you know their motives when they try to get friendly with you too quickly.
Useful when: Attacker is trying to gain your trust in order to fool you later.
Useless when: Attacker is not trying to gain trust. For example, a burglar/rapist breaks into your house.
4. Be confident: Have a voice. Be assertive. The moment an attacker notices that you are unsure of yourself, hesitant or you “let go” things easily, that’s when he gets encouraged that he can take advantage of you without much hassle.
If someone stares at you, stare right back at them. If someone touches you, warn them boldly, in a loud voice, to not touch you. Search the web and study “Verbal Self Defense”. Self assurance is not over rated.
Useful when: Attacker is less confident and less powerful than you.
Useless when: Attacker takes your confidence as a challenge for himself and thus starts wanting to “tame” you or put you into your place.
5. Dress wisely: Before I start getting hate mail, please let me make one thing very clear. I know that a large part of rapists don’t rape because of clothes and I know, that by asking a girl to dress wisely, the responsibility is put on the girl instead of the criminal. But this post is not just about rapists. A case in point, the flashier you dress, the more you will come off as “rich” and that will only encourage potential robbers to hold you at gunpoint and try to rob you. Also, the taller your heels, the more difficult it will be for you to run away from an attacker.
Wear skimpy or revealing clothes only at places where all other girls are expected to wear the same kind of clothes and which are crowded enough that it’s difficult to attack you. But it’s just attention seeking if you choose to wear revealing outfits where most of the people might seem overdressed if compared to you. So my point is dress for the occasion, not for attention. If you dress for attention, be ready to get the attention of people whose attention you wouldn’t enjoy.
And try to carry more comfortable-for-running footwear with you in your bag. You never know when it might prove itself useful.
Useful when: Attacker is a nymphomaniac stranger or acquaintance and when there aren’t many people around.
Useless when: Attacker is a trusted person or bully. Your clothes will not matter when someone wants to betray your trust or just plain bully you.
6. Scream: This can help you immediately by alerting the people around you and they can come to assist you immediately. Screaming for help can easily make an assaulter worried and scared of getting caught. If you’re lucky enough, he’ll run for his life, before he’s able to succeed in his evil plans to hurt you.
Useful when: You are near a crowded place.
Useless when: You are gagged or when you are in a secluded or noisy location (but you can still scream for help).
7. Run: The moment you think you are in danger, run for your life! Your life might depend on it. Without caring about your personal belongings like purse or house keys, just run! Try to get as away from your assaulter as you can. Try to find a vehicle, taxi, a crowd of people or at least a weapon with which you can protect yourself in case your attacker catches up to you.
Useful when: You are in a place you know well or a place not too far away from public places.
Useless when: You are bound, over-weight, injured or wearing heels.
8. Learn self defense: Avoiding a danger is way more successful than escaping and surviving one, but if you still get caught into a dangerous spot by an attacker, self defense can come in handy. There are a lot of self defense classes available these days, so join one. Learn and practice combatives, how to surprise an attacker, how to target his sensitive body parts like eyes or groin, how to escape restraints and how to evade you attacker.
Exercise daily, eat right and maintain a healthy weight so that you are strong enough to fight back and fast enough to escape.
Remember: Wounding an attacker can at times make him angrier. So, for example, if you do manage to kick his groin or injure him, make sure you run away at top speed so that he cannot catch up to you again.
Useful when: You are a match to the attacker in strength and size.
Useless when: You are too weak to fight.
9. Alert your family and friends by reaching out to them: This tip only applies in situations when someone you trust is already showing signs of being physically or verbally abusive. It might be your husband, your boyfriend, a relative or a friend. It might be just a slap, but that can be a sign of future physical abuse that this trusted person can harm you with. Marital rape and abuse happen in many houses, but is under reported as compared to non-marital rapes.
Getting away from such an abuser can be difficult as you and others related to you might be emotionally involved with them. The abusive person might even try to force you, beg of you or emotionally blackmail you to stay with them, just to start the abuse all over again once they know that you won’t go away. However, do not forget that a stranger might harm you only temporarily but someone you trust can damage you, your self-worth and your confidence for life!
Talk to your family and friends about this. Ask them to help you in cutting all ties with the abusive person. As last resort, don’t be afraid to report to authorities and get a restraining order.
Useful when: Abuser is a close and trusted person and who systematically tries to hurt you.
Useless when: The attack is sudden and the attacker is a stranger.
10. Improvise: This is the most critical tip of the 10 and will depend on the type of place, weaknesses of your attacker and your strengths and surroundings.One of the most common tricks is to carry a pepper spray, a Taser or pocket knife in your purse for self defence. But what if these are not available to you when you need them? Use anything pointy to stab an attacker. Use stones or bricks to pelt at an attacker. If something inflammable is around like alcohol or petrol, make a Molotov cocktail. Read further about improvised weapons here- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Improvised_weapon.
You can try to bribe your attacker or give away your whole purse. If running isn’t helpful, hiding might be. If you get a flat tire at a secluded place, try to still drive with it at a very slow speed (about 20 kmph) till you get to a spot where getting help is easier. You might be able to drive a few miles if you sense impending danger. Always lock your car doors and pull up windows and make sure you carry a weapon like a large rod in your car. You can also use your surroundings to make loud noises.
Usefulness or uselessness of this tip depends on the situation you are in.
So the bottom line is, always keep up your fight and do not give up till the end. If this article helps even one woman to save herself then I’d be glad that my tips proved to be meaningful for a life. Though I hope more that you never get into a situation where you have to use these tips.